The Night Before
`Eid is an occasion of happiness and thanksgiving at having been able to receive the blessed month of Ramadhan and, hopefully, draw near to Allah through His clemency. Unfortunately, the actions of many people make it seem as if `Eid were about seeing the month off with a loud “good riddance!” No sooner is the new moon sighted than a mad rush is seen to dive straight back into sin and shameful deeds. Those who really had something to celebrate at the end of Ramadhan would begin the festivities with a night of even greater worship, out of gratitude to Allah (SWT).
Abud-Darda’ (RA) said, “Whoever stands in the nights before the two `Eids hopeful (of reward from Allah), his heart will not die when others’ hearts will.” Imam ash-Shafi`i, one of the narrators of this hadeeth, said, “It has reached us that Du`a’ is (surely) answered in five nights: the night before Friday, the night before `Eid al-Adha, the night before `Eid al-Fitr, the first night in Rajab, and the middle-most night of Sha`ban” [al-Baihaqi in al-Kubra].
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said, “My Ummah has been given five things related to Ramadhan which no nation was given before it: the smell from the mouth of a fasting person is sweeter before Allah than the fragrance of musk; the angels seek forgiveness for them until they break their fast; Allah, Mighty and Majestic is He, adorns His Jannah everyday, and then says, ‘Soon shall My righteous servants cast away from themselves toil and adversity and come to you’; the rebellious devils are bound in shackles in Ramadhan, thus they cannot get to what they could outside it; and in its last night, my Ummah is forgiven.” It was asked, “O Messenger of Allah, is that Lailat al-Qadr?” He replied, “No, but it is only fitting that the labourer should be given his wages after completing his labour” [Ahmad].
Although the hadiths above have weaknesses in their chains of transmission, these nights have been accepted by the majority of scholars and the jurists of the four schools as nights of virtue due the abundance of the narrations about them and the practice of the early Muslims. Furthermore, they have stated that such hadith are valid in matters of virtue. However, the scholars have discourages any form of congregational worship in masjids on nights of virtue, declaring it an innovation. Hence one may engage in individual worship on these nights, at home, hoping for reward and acceptance from Allah (swt). This is a better way to spend this time than in sin, or preparing for sin on a blessed day such as Eid.
Sunan of `Eid
- To rise early.
- To have a bath.
- To use the siwak.
- To apply fragrance.
- To wear one’s best clothes (not necessarily new clothes), NOT to engage in a lavish show of extravagance.
- To eat something sweet (such as dates) before departing for the `Eid prayer. [But on `Eid al-Adha it is better not to eat before the prayer but after it]
- To go for the prayer early, preferably on foot.
- To give Sadaqat al-Fitr before leaving for the `Eid prayer.
- To choose a different route when returning from the `Eid prayer.
- To recite the following Takbir while walking to the Eid prayer softly in `Eid al-Fitr (loudly in `Eid al-Adha):
Allaahu akbar Allaahu akbar; Laa ilaaha illallaahu Allaahu akbar; Allaahu akbar wa lillaahil-hamd.
(Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, there no god but Allah, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, and to Allah belongs all praise.)
Wathilah ibn al-Asqa` (RA) said, “I met the Messenger of Allah (SAW) on the day of `Eid and said to him, ‘May Allah accept from us and from you.’ He said, ‘Yes, may Allah accept from us and from you’ [al-Baihaqi in al-Kubra].
This is alms given on the day of `Eid al-Fitr to the poor so that they too may celebrate on `Eid. The Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said, “Free them from having to ask on this day,” (ad-Daraqutni). It is also expiation for any shortcomings in Ramadhan. It is wajib on anyone who owns the nisab of zakah (around £200 today) on the day of Eid al-Fitr.
Those intending to send their sadaqatul fitr to the poor abroad may do so early so that the money reaches them on Eid day.
The amounts announced in masjids are usually calculated based on the minimum payable. Hence one should endeavour to pay more based on one’s affordability. It is also good to pay on behalf of one’s children even if they do not own the nisab amount. However this is not obligatory but recommended.
By: Shaykh Shafi Choudhury